Summary for Saturday, 14th November
Here’s a round-up of the latest developments:
- Russia and Ukraine have both reported record highs in daily cases. Russia has reported a record daily number of 22,702 new infections and 391 deaths. Ukraine registered 12,524 new cases.
- Poland has reported a record 548 new coronavirus deaths, taking the country’s total above 10,000. Poland also reported 25,571 new cases.
- Greece and Austria have set out plans to tighten lockdown restrictions. Austria is planning to impose a full lockdown from Tuesday. Greece has announced the closure of nurseries and primary schools until the end of November.
- The development of an effective vaccine should not make people complacent about the spread of coronavirus in England, a government adviser has warned. Prof Susan Michie, warned that the country was entering a “very challenging” fortnight.
- A group of religious leaders has launched a legal challenge against the decision to close churches for public worship in England and Wales during the second lockdown. More than 100 church leaders are seeking a judicial review of the decision by the UK government to ban people from worshipping together in England.
- According to Johns Hopkins University , the world had its worst day of the pandemic on Friday. It noted that the deaths of 11,617 more people dead were announced and more than 666,000 new cases recorded in 24 hours.
- Donald Trump has insisted his administration would not order a lockdown despite rising infection rates and more than 100,000 new cases being recorded daily for the past seven days. The pandemic has killed more than 240,000 people in the US.
Austria is planning to impose a full lockdown from Tuesday, a draft and summary of a government decree seen by Reuters has revealed.
The current 8pm to 6am curfew will move to an all-day lockdown with non-essential shops closing, the text said.
Secondary schools have already switched to distance learning, but schools for younger ages that are still open will do the same while providing childcare when necessary.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was due to hold a news conference outlining new restrictions in the face of surging infections on Saturday afternoon.
The government in Greece has announced the closure of nurseries and primary schools until the end of November, tightening a nationwide lockdown after a spike in cases, Reuters reports.
Greece has fared better than many other European countries in tackling the coronavirus, mainly due to an early nationwide lockdown imposed weeks after the pandemic broke out in February.
A gradual increase in infections since early October has forced authorities to reimpose restrictions and order a second nationwide lockdown, which expires at the end of November and includes a night curfew.
On Saturday, the government tightened the measures further, closing primary schools and nurseries from Monday for two weeks until the end of the lockdown period. Distance learning has already been implemented in secondary schools and universities.
Greece registered 3,038 new coronavirus cases on Friday. On Thursday, it recorded 3,316 new infections and 50 deaths, the highest daily tolls recorded during the pandemic so far.
Malaysia has reported 1,114 new coronavirus cases, raising the total to 46,209 infections.
The health ministry also recorded two new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities from the pandemic to 306.
Officials in Lanzhou, western China, have said coronavirus has been detected on the packaging of a batch of shrimp imported from Saudi Arabia, Reuters reports.
The Lanzhou municipal health commission said in a statement on its website that it had found one positive sample on Friday on the inner packaging of imported frozen shrimp from Saudi Arabia that had passed through customs in the coastal city of Tianjin.
The cold storage plant in Lanzhou where the case was discovered had been temporarily closed, all employees of the plant had been tested, all food involved was sealed and the whereabouts of all food sold had been determined, the statement said.
The commission said the shrimp had been purchased by Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic Products, entered the country on 21 October and reached Lanzhou on 8 November.
The positive sample in Lanzhou follows the detection of the virus on the packaging of a batch of Brazilian beef in Wuhan on Friday, and on Argentinian beef samples in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces this week.
The World Health Organization says the risk of catching Covid-19 from frozen food is low, but China has repeatedly sounded alarms after detecting the virus on imported food products, triggering disruptive import bans.
Poland has reported a record 548 new coronavirus deaths, taking the country’s total above 10,000.
Poland reported 25,571 new cases, lower than THE record 27,875 recorded on 7 November.
The health ministry said that as of Saturday, Covid-19 patients occupied 22,320 hospital beds and were using 2,126 ventilators, out of 35,182 and 2,805 available, respectively.
Turkmenistan’s long-time leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has insisted his reclusive country had no coronavirus cases, state media reported on Saturday, even as he opened a new hospital for infectious diseases, Agence France-Presse reports.
Berdymukhamedov hailed the country’s “big achievement” in avoiding the pandemic, in comments reported by the state newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan.
“As a result of the preventive measures taken, no cases of coronavirus infection have been registered in the country to date,” Berdymukhamedov said.
Hardline Turkmenistan and North Korea are among fewer than a dozen countries yet to declare a single coronavirus case. The other countries are Pacific island nations.
The Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu all declared their first cases in recent weeks but have avoided community transmission.
Berdymukhamedov’s virus-free claim is his first since a visit in July by a World Health Organization delegation prompted the government to implement a national lockdown.
Dissident-led media based in Europe have reported an explosion of coronavirus cases, but their websites are banned in the country, where there is no free press or political opposition.
The WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, recommended during her visit that the government adopt measures “as if Covid-19 were already circulating”, but stopped short of publicly doubting the government’s virus-free boast.
The hospital opened by Berdymukhamedov has a 200-bed capacity and can treat “viral hepatitis, infectious diseases of the upper respiratory tract … and diseases transmitted by airborne droplets,” Neutral Turkmenistan reported.
The hospital’s equipment includes mechanical ventilators manufactured by the Swedish medical technology company group Getinge, according to the report